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The woman whom I sometimes believed to be my mother flickered. Once. Twice. Her face—smiling—froze in a cloud of pixels, while her arm—the wide, emphatic gestures that were as much a marker of her identity as the color of her eyes or her fingerprints—swept the screen, leaving blue eddies, whirlpools of information. Then silence, but her mouth moved, leaving a flesh-colored smudge across the top half of her head.

“You’ve cut out again,” I said.

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